Vanderbilt can't hold late lead, eliminated in NCAA regional

Monday, June 4, 2012 at 10:51pm
Staff reports

North Carolina State gave Vanderbilt a taste of its own medicine — and ended the Commodores’ season in the process.

Vanderbilt surrendered six runs over the last two innings, blowing a four-run lead in a 9-7 loss in the deciding game of an NCAA Regional on Monday night in Raleigh, N.C. 

Left fielder Tarran Senay drove in five runs in his only two at-bats and delivered the crushing blow, a two-run single off reliever Will Clinard that catapulted N.C. State in front in the top of the ninth inning.

Vanderbilt (35-28), the No.2 seed, rallied to tie the previous two games against the top-seeded Wolfpack (43-18) and overcame a five-run deficit to win on Saturday.

Clinging to a one-run lead in the ninth, Clinard allowed a leadoff single. Pinch runner Bryan Adametz moved all the way to third on a throwing error by Riley Reynolds, his second and the Commodores' fourth of the contest.

The third baseman fielded a bunt but his throw to first hit baserunner Jake Fincher in the back, allowing Adametz to reach third. Coach Tim Corbin argued Fincher was running inside the basepath but the play wasn’t overturned.

After a groundout, Clinard intentionally walked Logan Ratledge to load the bases for Senay. The Commodores opted to keep Clinard, the veteran right-hander, in to face Senay, a lefty who hit a home run in the previous inning. This time he lifted a single into shallow right center and drove in two runs. The Wolfpack tacked on an insurance run when Trea Turner singled through the right side, ending Clinard’s night and most likely the career of the fourth-year junior.

In the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Wilkins worked around a leadoff walk to strike out the side and send N.C. State to its first Super Regional since 2008. The Wolfpack will play No. 1 national seed Florida.

The Commodores missed out on their third straight trip to a Super Regional and dropped two straight games for the first time since April 20-21.

They led 7-3 after seven innings after four straight shutout innings from freshman right-hander Tyler Beede, the second of six VU pitchers. He got into trouble in the eighth, when he gave up a leadoff walk and a double, which prompted Corbin to bring in left-hander Philip Pfeifer to face Senay. Pfeifer hung a 3-2 breaking ball, which Senay blasted over the right-field wall for a three-run home run.

Mike Yastrzemski was 4-for-5 with two RBIs for Vanderbilt. Connor Castellano drove in three runs, including two in a five-run third inning that gave the Commodores a 6-3 lead.

Vanderbilt began the season with seven losses in its first eight games. On March 23, it was 7-15. But it kept alive hopes for an NCAA Regional by winning their last four regular-season series and making a run all the way to the SEC tournament title game.

Before Sunday night’s loss to N.C. State, the Commodores had won 18 of 22.

4 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 6/5/12 at 5:56

No other school in the SEC uses the word gallantry to describe its athletic teams like Vanderbilt

By: JeffF on 6/5/12 at 7:12

that 4th weekend start was a big problem again. College teams don't usually have three good starters let alone four. So tournament ready teams are usually strong hitting teams. Vandy never pieced together all that talent at the plate so they were cannon fodder in the SEC and regional once they reached 4th game. Tournament play is scary different from regular season.

I still remember the eight team regionals and how exhausting they were on pitching staffs.

By: rldavenport@com... on 6/5/12 at 8:10

It's a crying shame the first base umpire didn't have the guts to make the right call at first base in the top of the ninth...that was a definite momentum changer.

By: wiseguy1 on 6/5/12 at 8:58

Sure this is a disappointing come from ahead loss to end a close series. I think Corbin knew going in he needed a bunch of runs to win. Two outs at the plate hurt, but that happens with agressive base running. I'd have to say these kids far exceeded preseason expectations. Next year should be better. Lots of learning this year.

No matter how you cut it, NC State didn't blow 'em out. Let's see how State stacks up to a deeper pitching rotation in UF.